21 March 2014
What's the hardest part of being a church leader?
David Holden, leader of New Community Church, London, Newfrontiers
"I would say the hardest part is making sure I only do what I know God has called me to do. It's a constant challenge when leading a church to do many things that others should do and therefore you need to be good at delegation. God gives us grace and gifts to do what He's called us to do, otherwise it just ends up as 'work only'. 1 Corinthians 15:10 has really helped me in this. It says: "By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them – yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me."
John Marshall, leader of Church Lane Evangelical Church, Stafford
"Loving people unconditionally is such a challenge. The love we must have for the congregation means we want the best for them. It validates the personal sacrifices church leaders make. If that love is rebutted and people treat church like a service industry, never giving, always taking and leaving on a whim then it is really hard to love them. At the same time, it leaves me even more amazed at Christ's unconditional love for me."
Octavia Williams, pastor at Walworth Christian Fellowship, Southwark
"As a church pastor I am challenged with people's low commitment level to prayer. Prayer meetings record the lowest level of church attendance. It is clear from Scripture (Acts 2) that after Jesus' ascension the Church was born on the day of Pentecost out of a 10-day prolonged prayer meeting in the Upper Room. One would think that prayer would come naturally to a follower of Jesus but I have found mobilising the church to pray is more often an uphill task. Nonetheless, I take consolation in knowing that there were more than 500 people who had seen Jesus after he had risen but only 120 people assembled in the Upper Room to pray."
John Welsby, leader of Emmanuel Christian Centre in Haverfordwest , Pembrokeshire
"Well, Moses as Israel's leader from Egypt to the Promised Land, had it all. He had grumbles, rebels, gossip, disloyalty... but also loyal friends and family. Best of all, despite lapses of anger and disobedience with his patience sorely tried and feeling like a failure, God loved him in his repentance and still used him. Why therefore as a leader, do I empathise with Moses? Ecclesiastes 1:9 says: "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun'."
Nick Atkins, rector at St Matthew's Church,
"There are quite a few areas that make being a Christian leader difficult. Moving creates the problem of leaving friends and making new relationships. As a vicar within the Anglican church, for a variety reasons, combining parishes brings the problem of time management between the congregations and extra duties. In addition levels of commitment amongst the church members can also be particularly disappointing at times."
Neil Powell, church pastor at City Church,
"For me it's remembering that it's not about me. It's a daily decision to remember that all true ministry flows out of a secure identity – I am in Christ – rather than out of a desperate desire to create an identity for myself. Fail to grasp this one truth and I will be the biggest danger to my ministry."